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Alaturka

US Muslims show resolve after New Zealand attacks

By Umar Farooq</p> <p>WASHINGTON (AA) – The Islamic Center of Washington D.C. was overflowing with Muslims for Friday prayers, showing strength in numbers, despite safety concerns after a gunman killed dozens of worshippers at two mosques in New Zealand.</p> <p>The prayer hall was filled but the room was roaring with silence as worshippers sat solemnly in anticipation for the imam’s sermon.</p> <p> <p>The talk was held after the gunman opened fire on worshippers during Friday prayers at the Al Noor and Linwood mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, leaving at least 49 people dead. The shooter posted a manifesto prior to the attack, spewing anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim rhetoric and showing support for U.S. President Donald Trump.</p> <p>The Islamic center's director, Abdullah Khouj, delivered his speech, calling for peace and condemning violence and hate. Khouj recited a verse from the Quran well known to the Muslim community.</p> <p> <p>“Whoever kills a person, unless in retribution for murder or spreading corruption in the land, it is as if he kills all mankind, while if anyone saves a life it is as if he saves the lives of all mankind,” he recited from Islam’s holy text.</p> <p> <p>Police were present with squad cars posted outside the Washington mosque, and officers remained in the prayer hall, checking to make sure there was no potential security threat.</p> <p> <p>Despite concerns in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in the U.S., Muslims were not deterred in their faith and showed that in times of tragedy, strength must be shown.</p> <p> <p>“Do not be afraid and do not abandon your mosques. Not today. Not ever,” Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council of American-Islamic Relations, said Friday.</p> <p>Some Muslims were ready to take matters into their own hands – even if it meant brining weapons into the sanctuary of the mosque.</p> <p>“I think Muslims should take the steps to arm themselves, because the Second Amendment specifically is there to protect our rights, to our fundamental right to life,” Karim el-Sayed said. “I think it is crucial that Muslims in the US take the necessary steps to legally arm themselves, form security groups to patrol the masjids.”</p> <p> <p>But Mustafa Alam had a slightly different perspective.</p> <p> <p>“We shouldn't be fearful, but we should always just be bold and strong and just follow our faith and live well with others. That's all we have to do. Nothing like this should intimidate us, it should strengthen us to be better people,” Mustafa Alam, a recent medical school graduate, told Anadolu Agency.</p> <p> <p>Alam said Muslims need to show love to fight hate.</p> <p> <p>&quot;Mercy is always greater, and that's the way we should deal with that. With a lot of mercy with a lot of love, and when we do that that's how we demonstrate and show what it means of our faith,” he said. “Hopefully, this love and compassion overrides the hate that others may show.

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Alaturka

Qatari mosque opens in Turkish capital

By Ahmet Salih Alacaci

ANKARA (AA) – Several senior Turkish and Qatari officials attended the opening of a 4,500-person-capacity mosque in Turkey’s capital on Friday.

Turkish foreign and defense ministers Mevlut Cavusoglu and Hulusi Akar along with Qatari Ambassador Salem bin Mubarak Al-Shafi and Hamad bin Ali al Attiyah — former defense minister and current advisor to Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani — attended the Islamic weekly Friday prayer at Abdullah Bin Ali Al Attiyah Mosque.

The advisor al Attiyah had the mosque built in Ankara, with its construction beginning in November 2016.

The event began with an opening invocation and was followed by Friday prayers.

Turkey and the Gulf state enjoy amicable ties, with Ankara backing Doha in the Gulf crisis that erupted in June 2017 when Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the U.A.E., and Bahrain cut diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar.

The four states accused Qatar of supporting terrorist groups, allegations Doha denies, describing the embargo as a breach of its national sovereignty.

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Alaturka Gazetesi

Palestinians converge on Aqsa for Ramadan's last Friday

JERUSALEM (AA) – Thousands of Palestinians from the Israeli-occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem — and from Arab towns inside Israel — converged on Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque on the last Friday of the Ramadan fasting month.

Ahmed Baidon, 47, from the West Bank city of Salfit, told Anadolu Agency: “I want to spend the last Friday of Ramadan praying at the Al-Aqsa Mosque and break my fast in the mosque’s courtyards.”

Firas al-Dibs, a spokesman for Jerusalem’s Religious Affairs Authority, told Anadolu Agency that as many as 280,000 worshippers attended Friday prayers at the iconic mosque.

Only men over 40 and children under 13 — along with women of all ages — were allowed by the Israeli army to enter East Jerusalem without entry permits.

Palestinians from the Gaza Strip, meanwhile, were banned — for the fourth consecutive week — from attending prayers at Al-Aqsa.

The Israeli authorities stepped up security in and around the flashpoint religious site, deploying hundreds of police and erecting roadblocks at the entrances of Jerusalem's Old City.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank during the 1967 Middle East War.

It annexed the entire city in 1980, claiming it as the “unified” capital of the self-proclaimed Jewish state — a move never recognized by the international community.

International law continues to view the West Bank and East Jerusalem as “occupied territories”.

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Alaturka Gazetesi

Afrin locals, Turkish troops join in Friday prayers

By Sarp Ozer

AFRIN, Syria (AA) – Turkish troops performed Friday prayers alongside the residents of the northwestern Syrian city of Afrin in the first Salat al-Jumu’ah since the liberation of the city from the YPG/PKK terrorist organization last week.

In the central mosque of Afrin city, locals stood shoulder to shoulder with the Turkish troops and the Free Syrian Army fighters to perform the weekly Islamic prayer.

In his sermon, the imam of the mosque thanked the Turkish army commanders for clearing the area of the terrorists, saying that Afrin residents should now stand together in unity.

Some of the worshippers extended their gratitude to the Turkish troops following the prayer while others expressed happiness for having formed the Friday prayers in peace for the first time in a long while.

After liberating Afrin’s town center — formerly a major hideout for YPG/PKK terrorists — on Sunday, the Turkish army started taking measures to oversee security and order there.

Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch on Jan. 20 to clear terrorist groups from Afrin in northwestern Syria, amid growing threats from the region.

The operation is aimed at establishing security and stability along Turkey's borders and the region as well as protecting Syrians from terrorist cruelty and oppression, according to the Turkish General Staff.

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Alaturka Gazetesi

After shootout, Israel cancels Friday prayer at Al-Aqsa

By Abdel-raouf Arnaut

JERUSALEM (AA) – Following a police shooting, Israeli authorities on Friday cancelled Friday prayer at Al-Aqsa Mosque for the first time in nearly five decades, a Palestinian cleric said.

The decision followed a shootout in which Israeli police shot dead three Palestinians who they claimed were carrying out an armed attack inside the flashpoint Al-Aqsa compound.

Following the attack, Israeli police cleared the mosque and closed it to the public.

Yoram Ha-Levy, Jerusalem police district commander, said that Friday prayers will not be held at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Israeli police also beefed up security, deploying hundreds of troops and erecting roadblocks at the entrances of Jerusalem’s Old City, eyewitnesses said.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, a preacher at Al-Aqsa, said that the first time Friday prayer was not held at the mosque was in late August 1969, a day after Michael Rohan, an Australian, set the mosque on fire.

Israel occupied east Jerusalem in 1967.

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Alaturka Gazetesi

Palestinians pray at Al-Aqsa on last Friday of Ramadan

By Anees Bargouthi

JERUSALEM (AA) – Thousands of Muslims have turned out at East Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque to perform prayers on the last Friday of Ramadan, the Muslim fasting month.

Since dawn, large numbers of Palestinian worshipers from the Israeli-occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem — and from Arab villages inside Israel — have converged on Al-Aqsa, which for Muslims represents the world’s third holiest site.

Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib, director-general of religious endowments and Al-Aqsa affairs, told Anadolu Agency that some 280,000 Palestinian worshipers had come to the site to pray on Ramadan’s last Friday.

Al-Khatib added that around 200,000 worshipers were expected to remain in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound to commemorate Laylat al-Qadr, one of the holiest days on the Muslim calendar.

Only men over 45 and children under 12 — along with women of all ages — were allowed by the Israeli authorities to enter occupied East Jerusalem without entry permits.

Israel has stepped up security in and around the flashpoint mosque compound, deploying some 4,000 soldiers and setting up roadblocks at the entrances of Jerusalem’s Old City.

At the Qalandia checkpoint, meanwhile, Israeli forces used teargas to disperse Palestinians attempting to enter East Jerusalem.

According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, Tayseer Habash, a 63-year-old Palestinian, died after inhaling excessive amounts of teargas, while another 40 suffered temporary asphyxia.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the Jewish state in a move never recognized by the international community.

International law views the West Bank and East Jerusalem as “occupied territories” and considers all Jewish settlement building on the land to be illegal.

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Alaturka Gazetesi

250,000 Muslims visit Al-Aqsa for 3rd Friday of Ramadan

By Anees Bargouthi

JERUSALEM (AA) – Around 250,000 Muslims turned out to pray at East Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque for the third Friday of Ramadan, the Muslim fasting month.

Since dawn, Palestinian worshipers from Jerusalem and the Israeli-occupied West Bank began converging on Al-Aqsa, which for Muslims represents the world’s third holiest site.

The Israeli Authorities, for their part, stepped up security in the area, deploying thousands of policemen and erecting roadblocks at the entrances of Jerusalem’s Old City.

They also deployed a helicopter and a surveillance blimp to monitor activities in and around the flashpoint religious site.

Only men over 45 and children under 12 — along with women of all ages — were allowed by the Israeli authorities to enter occupied East Jerusalem without entry permits.

Around 300 Palestinian residents of the blockaded Gaza Strip were also allowed — for the second time this Ramadan — to enter Jerusalem on Friday.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the Jewish state in a move never recognized by the international community.

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Alaturka Gazetesi

Palestinians pray at Al-Aqsa for 2nd Friday of Ramadan

By Anees Barghoti

JERUSALEM (AA) – Thousands of Muslims from the Israeli-occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem converged on the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound today to pray on the second Friday of Ramadan, the Muslim fasting month.

Only men over 45 and children under 12 — along with women of all ages — were allowed by the Israeli army to enter occupied East Jerusalem without entry permits.

The Israeli authorities, meanwhile, stepped up security around the flashpoint religious site, deploying more than 3,500 policemen and erecting roadblocks at the entrances of Jerusalem’s Old City.

They also deployed a helicopter and a surveillance blimp to monitor the situation in and around the mosque compound.

Salem al-Natsheh, a 53-year-old resident of the West Bank city of Hebron, told Anadolu Agency: “It’s the second time for me to pray at Al-Aqsa this Ramadan; it takes more than six hours to enter Jerusalem due to Israeli security measures.”

Rokaya Orabi, 33, from the West Bank city of Ramallah, said she had only been allowed to enter Jerusalem after having been searched by Israeli soldiers.

“My three children were also subject to Israeli security measures,” Orabi told Anadolu Agency, adding that she had also been accompanied to Al-Aqsa by her eight-year-old grandson, “who is seeing Jerusalem for the first time in his life”.

Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib, the Palestinian director-general of the Authority for Religious Endowments and Al-Aqsa Affairs, told Anadolu Agency that around 200,000 worshipers had turned out to pray at Al-Aqsa for the second Friday of Ramadan.

“We’re expecting at least 150,000 worshipers at Al-Aqsa for iftar [the Ramadan fast-breaking meal] and Taraweeh prayers,” he said.

Some 200 residents of the blockaded Gaza Strip — all over 60 years old — were also allowed to enter Jerusalem on Friday, after having been barred last week in response to a shooting attack in Tel Aviv that left four Israelis dead.

“I set out from the Gaza Strip with my husband at dawn,” Amena Abu al-Eaish, a 66-year-old resident of Gaza City told Anadolu Agency.

“I plan to perform Friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque and spend the rest of the day there reading Quran,” she said.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the city in 1980, claiming it as the unified capital of the self-proclaimed Jewish state — a move never recognized by the international community.

International law views the West Bank and East Jerusalem as occupied territories, considering all Jewish settlement building on the land to be illegal.

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Alaturka Gazetesi

RE-RUN – 100,000 Muslims spend 1st Friday of Ramadan at Al-Aqsa

By Anees Bargouthi

JERUSALEM (AA) – Thousands of Palestinians from the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem marched to the Al-Aqsa Mosque today to perform the first Friday prayer of the Ramadan holy month.

Men over 45, children under 12 and women of all ages were allowed by the Israeli army to enter occupied East Jerusalem without entry permits.

“Due to Israeli security measures, I spent three hours at an army checkpoint to enter Jerusalem,” Ahmed Barakat, 55, from the West Bank city of Hebron (Al-Khalil) told Anadolu Agency.

“It’s the first time I’ve been in the city since last Ramadan,” he said.

“I will perform Friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, but I also hope to perform Taraweeh [Ramadan evening] prayers here,” he added.

The Israeli authorities have stepped up security around the flashpoint religious site, deploying some 3,500 policemen and erecting roadblocks at the entrances of Jerusalem’s Old City.

Sheikh Omar al-Qiswani, the Al-Aqsa Mosque’s Palestinian director, told Anadolu Agency that only about 100,000 worshipers had prayed at Al-Aqsa on the first Friday of Ramadan, compared to some 250,000 last year.

“The [Jordan-run] Religious Endowments Authority has distributed hundreds of umbrellas for worshipers who will stay and have Iftar [i.e., break the Ramadan sunrise-to-sunset fast] inside the mosque compound,” he said.

“We were expecting about 300,000 visitors for the first Friday of Ramadan, but Israeli security measures have prevented that,” he added.

– Restrictions

On Thursday, the Israeli authorities suspended entry permits into Jerusalem for around 85,000 Palestinians from the occupied West Bank and the blockaded Gaza Strip following a deadly shooting attack in Tel Aviv one day earlier in which four Israelis were killed.

The Israeli army also announced that a general closure would be imposed on the occupied Palestinian territories until midnight Sunday.

“I have a permit to enter Jerusalem for Ramadan, but the Israeli army stopped me at the Qalandia checkpoint,” Sameer Malki, 37, from the West Bank city of Ramallah, told Anadolu Agency.

“This month [Ramadan] is our only chance to visit the Al-Aqsa Mosque and see the Old City of Jerusalem,” he said.

The Al-Aqsa Mosque is sacred to both Jews and Muslims, and for the latter represents the world’s third holiest site. Jews refer to the area as the “Temple Mount,” claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.

Israel occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the entire city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the Jewish state — a move never recognized by the international community.

International law continues to view the West Bank and East Jerusalem as “occupied territories” and considers all Jewish settlement building on the land to be illegal.

Categories
Alaturka Gazetesi

100,000 Muslims spend 1st Friday of Ramadan at Al-Aqsa

By Anees Bargouthi

JERUSALEM (AA) – Thousands of Palestinians from the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem marched to the Al-Aqsa Mosque today to perform the first Friday prayer of the Ramadan holy month.

Men over 45, children under 12 and women of all ages were allowed by the Israeli army to enter occupied East Jerusalem without entry permits.

“Due to Israeli security measures, I spent three hours at an army checkpoint to enter Jerusalem,” Ahmed Barakat, 55, from the West Bank city of Hebron (Al-Khalil) told Anadolu Agency.

“It’s the first time I’ve been in the city since last Ramadan,” he said.

“I will perform Friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, but I also hope to perform Taraweeh [Ramadan evening] prayers here,” he added.

The Israeli authorities have stepped up security around the flashpoint religious site, deploying some 3,500 policemen and erecting roadblocks at the entrances of Jerusalem’s Old City.

Sheikh Omar al-Qiswani, the Al-Aqsa Mosque’s Palestinian director, told Anadolu Agency that only about 100,000 worshipers had prayed at Al-Aqsa on the first Friday of Ramadan, compared to some 250,000 last year.

“The [Jordan-run] Religious Endowments Authority has distributed hundreds of umbrellas for worshipers who will stay and have Iftar [i.e., break the Ramadan sunrise-to-sunset fast] inside the mosque compound,” he said.

“We were expecting about 300,000 visitors for the first Friday of Ramadan, but Israeli security measures have prevented that,” he added.

– Restrictions

On Thursday, the Israeli authorities suspended entry permits into Jerusalem for around 85,000 Palestinians from the occupied West Bank and the blockaded Gaza Strip following a deadly shooting attack in Tel Aviv one day earlier in which four Israelis were killed.

The Israeli army also announced that a general closure would be imposed on the occupied Palestinian territories until midnight Sunday.

“I have a permit to enter Jerusalem for Ramadan, but the Israeli army stopped me at the Qalandia checkpoint,” Sameer Malki, 37, from the West Bank city of Ramallah, told Anadolu Agency.

“This month [Ramadan] is our only chance to visit the Al-Aqsa Mosque and see the Old City of Jerusalem,” he said.

The Al-Aqsa Mosque is sacred to both Jews and Muslims, and for the latter represents the world’s third holiest site. Jews refer to the area as the “Temple Mount,” claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.

Israel occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the entire city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the Jewish state — a move never recognized by the international community.

International law continues to view the West Bank and East Jerusalem as “occupied territories” and considers all Jewish settlement building on the land to be illegal.